Monday, August 16, 2010

August 16, 2010 Record number of Great Egrets in Ottawa.

The number of Great Egrets in the Ottawa area continues to raise weekly. Today, August 16th , I observed 14 at Shirley's Bay and another 7 along the Ottawa River at various locations. Last week, the roost site at Deschenes Rapids had a high count of 18 egrets. A few of the egrets were observed sitting in Double-crested Cormorant nests and picking up sticks. I'm not sure if they're just checking out the real estate or had possibly nested earlier this year at this location. The Great Egret was first recorded in Ottawa in August 1972 and has been a rare visitor over the decades. Since the early 2000's we have had more observations during the fall with numbers ranging between 5-8 individuals but this year the numbers are unprecedented. Anyway, likely more will be found during this fall. I'm still haven't observed any banded Great Egrets.
The water level at Shirley's Bay is high and few shorebirds were present this afternoon but this is typical after heavy rains.

Good Birding, Bruce

Directions: Shirley's Bay: From Ottawa take Hwy. 417 west to the Moodie Drive exit and turn north (right) on Moodie Drive and continue to Carling Ave. Turn left at Carling Ave. and follow Carling to Rifle Road. Turn right (north) on Rifle Rd. Park at the lot at the end (boat launch).
Walk back to the road, and continue through the gate on the Department of National Defense property. There is a trail on your right (clearly marked with vehicle "No Entry" signs) which heads into the woods, and, eventually to the dyke. There is lots of POISON IVY along the dyke.

OFFICE BEFORE ENTERING THE DYKE AREA-- Call (613) 991-5740 and request permission to visit the dyke area for birding.

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